Monday, October 18, 2010

“Grooming Generation X as Leaders” – Professor M.S.Rao

“Most CEOs are boomers, and an impending leadership crisis is coming. As many as half of senior managers are leaving in the next five years.” – McKinsey Trends Quarterly

You heard about generation and generation gap where generation means people who are born in a particular period and the generation gap means the gap between two generations. However, there is another term ‘Generation X’, widely used for the people who were born after baby boomers and before generation Y (Gen Y). Precisely, they are called Gen Xers. Gen X is very difficult to define as it is not clear exactly the years these people were born because some experts classified these people having been born in the period of 1965 - 1976 and some in the period of 1961 - 1981. They are also known as Thirteenth Generation and baby busters.

Generation Y (Gen Y) are those who were born in the period of 1977 -1996. The early members of Gen Y are often referred as MTV Generation. They are largely the children of the baby boomers and younger members of this generation have parents that belong to Gen X. They are also called Net Generation, Generation Next, iGeneration and the Millennial Generation. The details of all generations are briefly outlined as follows:

Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964)
Generation Xers (born 1965-1976) / (1961-1981)
Generation Yers (born 1977 – 1996)
Digital Natives who are also referred as Hyper-connected (born after 1997)

Challenges for Gen X:

"Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful." -Joshua J. Marine

There are several challenges for Gen Xers. Their percentage is lesser than Gen Y. In fact, Gen Xers are caught between the devil and deep sea where older people enjoyed several benefits being senior and the younger generation is much benefited by the rapid growth in technology. They are sandwiched between two other generations such as baby boomers and Gen Y. When baby boomers retire it is the X-ers who have to take up the leadership roles.

Grooming Gen-X as Leaders:

“It is possible at any age to discover a lifelong desire you never knew you had.” - Robert Brault

As the baby boomers are retiring we are heading towards a major global challenge to keep Gen X ready to take on leadership roles and responsibilities. How does it happen? Are the organizations ready to train and groom these people? Have they kept these people in the leadership pipeline?

Gen X employees are a cursed lot as they are not experts in technology like Gen Y. They missed their bus because they were born in a particular era. Their average tenure span at the workplace is decreasing with an average of three to five year life span in any one organization. Companies have made mistake by not focusing on their training and grooming for senior positions. One great advantage is that they have passion for learning and growing and are willing to take up leadership positions. Since baby boomers are retiring there is dearth of leadership talent at the top. Therefore, companies must put earnest efforts to train and groom Xers so that the talent is kept ready in the leadership pipeline to take the companies to greater heights.

Professor M.S.Rao
Founder and Chief Consultant,
MSR Leadership Consultant, India
Blog: http://profmsr.blogspot.com
Where Knowledge is Wealth
Email: profmsr7@gmail.com

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